Journey to Christendom - Chapter 4
Ave Maris Stella
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Thus far, I have laid a large portion of the foundation for the full story of my conversion and the journey I have taken in association with it. I have told you what this story is about: the fullness of Catholic belief as it has been manifested in my life. I have discussed my purpose in writing it and why I am writing it now. This purpose is the love of God and the love of humanity that is forcing itself out into the world. But before I move to the next section, I think it is very worthwhile to tell you the current circumstances that led up to me finally deciding to let this love of God out, that love that must burst forth that I discussed above. This is an essential part of my story; you will understand why as you read the rest of the book.
It started about two years ago when I ventured with my family and a friend of ours to the church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Chicago. We entered the church and immediately felt the powerful presence of the spirit of our Catholic faith. We met the priest, who informed us that this church had been designated by the Cardinal Archbishop as the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy for the Archdiocese of Chicago. This was done to encourage devotion throughout the archdiocese for the Divine Mercy, a revelation of great significance given to a humble nun in Poland later canonized by Pope John Paul II. Furthermore, there was quite a story about how this designation by the Cardinal happened. The Virgin Mary requested that the church be given to her for this purpose. I won't go into how this happened or convince you of anything other than that this is the story, and I believe it.
One year later, I was traveling through Chicago for professional reasons and ended up with a couple of hours of downtime. I felt a compelling tug on my inner soul to use that time to go over and visit the church of St. Stanislaus Kostka. I walked inside around five o'clock in the evening. Barely a soul was in the church. I walked into the sanctuary and saw the most Blessed Sacrament in a beautiful monstrance on the altar, and next to it was one of the most beautiful statues of the Queen of Heaven I had ever seen. At that moment, I felt a tremendously powerful presence of Our Lady, the pure and virgin Queen, all around me and the sanctuary. I will always remember this; it was a foretaste of what would come in a couple of months. I sat in the church for over an hour praying in the presence of Our Lord and Our Lady, and I was particularly imbued with Mary's spirit. From that point on, over the next several weeks, I visited that church as often as I could. Something inside me kept speaking to my heart that this was Mary's church, where she desired to make her Son known and loved by a cold, darkened, and lost world. The church was always almost empty when I would visit.
Then, only one month later, I discovered that something incredible and historic was to take place at the church of St. Stanislaus Kostka. In honor of the church's designation as the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy, a Polish artist sculpted an iconic monstrance called the Iconic Monstrance of Our Lady of the Sign, Ark of Mercy. The monstrance would hold the Blessed Sacrament of Our Lord in perpetual adoration for the general public and would be the largest monstrance, probably, in the world. The image of Our Lady, a symbolic representation of the Queen of heaven and earth, was over nine feet tall and would hold the Real Presence of Our Lord in a Eucharistic host measuring twelve inches in diameter.
The Cardinal was going to dedicate the icon and asked the public to attend. My heart leaped out of my chest. I had experienced the strong spirit of Mary in that church over the past months. Her sweet fragrance was most likely given to prepare me for this historic event. I quickly made my reservations for my family.
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